Looming over the whole of the old town from a lofty plateau is Bratislava's magnificent castle, the first mention of which dates from 907, but which has been completely rebuilt on at least three occasions in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles – and which is probably undergoing its most recent overhaul as you read this.
The Bratislava Castle now faces a complex restoration, which should last for about four years. The previous restoration took place in the mid-20th century.
Previously, it had been used as a base for Emperor Sigismund's anti-Hussite troops in the 15th century and served as a lavish royal seat under Maria Theresa. Then, after her death, Joseph II turned it into a Catholic seminary, before it became a military barracks.
One of its inebriated garrisoned residents is blamed for the fire that ravaged it in 1811, and then indifference took hold for more than 100 years before the communist government rescued it from neglect, eventually turning it into a city museum. The present restoration is the most costly in its history.
The nice thing about the castle is that you don't even need to go inside it to appreciate it: it is surrounded by footpaths and stairs that take you around the castle walls and relaxing hilltop parks. The hill below the castle has plenty of cafes and pubs.